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                                               PRAISE  LINES          

                                                                q. r. hand,

                                               Poet and Healer























q. r. hand was a man of many caps. He danced as easily as he walked.

We begin with q. r. among musicians in the first Rebel Poets' compilation, the cassette album Worlds Made Flesh, 1989. q. was among San Francisco Bay Area poets whom I'd

asked to read their work at Olde West Studio. Their poetry and performance was of a fire and excellence deserving global attention, I felt. Next step was involving the superlative percussionists, Babatunde Lea on congas and Henri Flood on timbales, to improvise beats in accord with the poets' content and delivery. Final step, that Summer

of '89, was bringing musicians on other instruments for their responses to poets' recorded tracks. Here, John Baker on keyboards, David Blood on electric guitar, Mark Crawford on drums-set, George Cremaschi on fretless bass, and Lewis Jordan on tenor saxophone play with q.r.'s poem of tribute and with Babatunde Lea's and Henri Flood's rhythms.

q. looks to Africa and speaks in respect for Blacks' and Browns' struggle

in apartheid South Africa.

1. 'today africa, for Willie Kgotsitsile'

with Babatunde Lea congas, Henri Flood timbales, John Baker keyboards,

David Blood electric guitar, Mark Crawford drums-set, George Cremaschi fretless bass, Lewis Jordan tenor saxophone.

from Rebel Poets' Worlds Made Flesh, 1989, San Francisco.


q. r. hand was of a build and temperament fit for slim jeans, vests, and T-shirts of Florentine blue and goyave. He was intensely sympathetic. He could inhabit sea-lions and distant generations. His group of young activists in New York City hosted and venerated Malcolm X / El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.


The righteous present called to him. He planted his feet and spoke as if in prayer to the microphone. He raised one forefinger to the stars.

q.r. with mustache, beard around

Photo courtesy of Catherine Franque Perkins (q. r.'s niece) and from a nice tribute to q. r. in the Mission Local by Clara-Sophia Daly.














2. 'our hemisphere'

with Babatunde Lea congas, Henri Flood timbales, John Baker keyboards,

David Blood electric guitar, Mark Crawford drums-set, George Cremaschi fretless bass, Lewis Jordan tenor saxophone.

from Rebel Poets' Worlds Made Flesh, I/R, 1989, San Francisco.

q. r. was forever encouraging and enthusiastic and yet he never lowered standards. He counseled those struggling in institutions and on streets of San Francisco. He ooh’ed and ahh’ed at the spectacularly accomplishing--such as the feats he and John Ross saw in N.B.A. playoffs. He and Alfonso Texidor introduced me to two great, dynamic poets and performers, devorah major and Daniel Higgs, and both q. r and Alfonso generously dug devorah's and Daniel's contributions to the second, 1992 Rebel Poets' compilation, America Fears The Drum.


q. r. hunkered at a front table for jazz saxophonists and drummers. He wrote that you would need a jet to stay with David Murray's sound. 


He loved to collaborate and to improvise. The WordWind Chorus of q. r. and Brian Auerbach and Lewis Jordan and Reginald Lockett was of decades' standing. q. r. knew that in blending together their individual strains his people and all people might achieve optimal voicings.


Reginald Lockett wrote about his friend:

'Q.R. Hand’s poetry traverses the terrain of form, music, and language. This is an inspired, well crafted poetry that is political in intent and spirited in execution and defies any comparison to any literary precursors or contemporary schools of thought. Q.R. Hand is an entity unto himself; a true visionary walks among us.'

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Reginald, Brian, and q. r.  Unfortunately the fourth member of their WordWind Chorus, great artist and saxophonist Lewis Jordan, is 
cropped out of this Internet image.

q.r. and Malcolm at a meeting for organizers in New York City, 1964.

KZSU of Stanford has the WordWind Chorus' album We Are Of The Saying up online!

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Art by Seth Tobocman.


LISTEN ON BANDCAMP, PLEASE. q. r. reads four of his poems with musicians
on the two Rebel Poets' albums, 1989 and 1992 and I read Al Young's Introduction to q's collection of poems whose really blues and two poems from that 2006 book


















Here q.r. writes about David Murray's compositional/improvisational music.

"God done made you a musical child ... This music is the anti-dote to the anti-life ... "

3. 'all asound us'             for david murray and the world saxophone quartet

with Babatunde Lea congas, Henri Flood timbales, John Baker keyboards,

Mark Crawford drums-set, George Cremaschi fretless bass, Lewis Jordan tenor saxophone, John Karr electric guitar,

from Rebel Poets' Worlds Made Flesh, 1989, San Francisco. CLICK to read more.




Here I quote from Al Young's Introduction to q. r. hand's 2006 book, whose really blues. Al Young I first met at a Stanford University English Department party in Autumn 1971,

when I was a studiously unkempt, 21-year-old Stegner Fellow and novelist. Al was solidly free of 'afectación' among the Faculty, then and there. He and his work grew in stature for me over decades. He was named Poet Laureate of California--great, wise choice!--in 2006.

4. 'Al Young's Introduction to q. r. hand's 2006 book of poems, whose really blues.

q.r. reading at birthday celebration for

q. r. reads at a birthday celebration for John Ross, Café La Boheme, 2008.

whose really blues front-cover with draw
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q. r.'s 2006 book and its art-work by him.




















5. 'numberless at the sands of the seashore      after music of the

georgia sea island people'

with Babatunde Lea, Lee and Salas of Hedzoleh Soundz congas,

Kevin Carnes drums-set, Lewis Jordan saxophone, and William Winant tympani.

from Rebel Poets' America Fears The Drum, I / R, 1992, Olde West Studio in San Francisco, and remastered with David Farrell in New Orleans, January 2021.

q. r. hand uplifted every place to which he lent his perceptions and his voice. His lyricism set a standard and his unrelenting, positive energy was a natural boon. He always surprised and raised us by the reaches of his mind and spirit.

Here are two poems from the collection of 2006  that Al Young praises, whose really blues

6. 'four takes from a short and personal history of summer', read from q. r. hand's 2006 book of poems, whose really blues.

7. 'each time', ibid.


































q.r. and Don, June 1991, before the Grea
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q. r. and me at Café Babar, one Friday afternoon of June 1991, when I was running Marathons as a Master and after Henry Kaiser had a session in his studio in the Oakland Hills. Photo by Alfonso Texidor--another poet of streets and skies and REVOLUTIONARY sympathies. We three met when the great Tede Matthews brought us together for a reading at Modern Times bookstore in the Mission, March of 1987. Tede was another poet on the 1992 Rebel Poets' compilation America
Fear The Drum.


q. r. hand beside the Pacific Ocean.

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San Francisco Chronicle and Jason Fagone with another tribute.

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Art for Rebel Poets' second compilation, America Fears The Drum,
1992, by René Castro of the Mission Cultural Center.


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The 1980s into the 1990s in the San Francisco Bay Area were alive with characters and

changes. Unlikely meetings and eye-opening connections remained a regular thing. Murals and protests sprang up on alley walls and surreptitiously supplanted billboards. Thousands marched when 'The Great Deceiver', George H. W. Bush, came to town. Thousands more rode their bicycles past midnight when Mayor Willie Brown said no such "Critical Mass' could take place. A lot took place that perhaps could happen nowhere else so colorfully and so readily.

Poets and musicians were at the heart of this enduring and rebellious, live It to me. Too Many to name without Some sure to be unjustly omitted.

Please see this All About Jazz interview by Glenn Ito for my remembering a special friend and collaborator, Glenn Spearman, and parts of the scene that crossed BART

Stations as if axes were broomsticks ... as if everything was hardly material.   




































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